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Tobias Richardson
137 found bricks
315 x 11 x 161cm
Lake Macquarie Regional Gallery, NSW
Image: Lake Macquarie Regional Gallery

This floor work is composed of 137 found bricks collected one weekend around inner city Sydney. Each brick was collected, cleaned and scrubbed, transported, and arranged.

Revel is the title of a series of works I started in 2009 in Darwin, NT. The works are a homage/exploration of Carl Andre’s 1966 work Lever and other floor sculptures from 1965 onwards. As well, the series looks at my childhood memories of seeing Andre’s Lever in 1974 at the Art Gallery of NSW.

Revel is the backward spelling of ‘lever’ - an apt title meaning to celebrate.

The work here was commissioned by Lake Macquarie Regional Gallery for Lake, curated by Malcolm Smith and Meryl Ryan (24 Sept. – 14 Nov. 2010). Lake explores and highlights Australia’s inward waterways in contrast to Australia’s defining coastal demographic. The role of landscape defines Australia, the gothic and metaphysical qualities of lakes are underlying issues explored in this exhibition through artistic interpretation.

• Lakes
Lakes link themselves to moats and swimming pools easily. Lakes exist both physically and symbolically. My reference to a lake is via a circular form suggestive of a medieval moat or a swimming pool.

Andre had the inspiration for floor sculptures whilst canoeing on a lake in New Hampshire in 1965, he considered the lake’s surface as an ideal form and a sculpture solution.

The circumstances in which Andre's brick sculptures were first created have been summarised by David Bourdon, loc. cit.: For some time it had been apparent to Andre that his sculpture should be low’. In summer, 1965, while canoeing on a New Hampshire lake, he realised his sculpture had to be as level as water. (Bourdon, D. 1978)

• Homage: Carl Andre 1966 Lever
Lever is significant for me on two prime levels; firstly by its aesthetic resolve and secondly as childhood memory. Lever was included in the Australian travelling exhibition Some Recent American Art that I saw at the Art Gallery of NSW in 1974. I was six and it was my first experience with difficult post-modern art, I was intrigued by this mysterious row of bricks. In my recasting of Andre’s Lever I have imbedded metaphysical structure, expressiveness, history and allegory in contrast to the stark and reductive intents of the minimalists.

Image: Carl Andre Lever 1966.

• Trembling
Revel is loaded with emotion. In my extension of Andre’s work I started with the artist’s premise that materials have inherent qualities that must not be strayed from. Andre’s bricks are uniform and machined while my bricks are busy with distracting detail, transformative with age.

Tobias Richardson, Lake Macquarie 2010

Bourdon, D. (1978). Carl Andre; Sculpture 1959-1977, p. 50 “Lever” (1966). Jaap Rietman Inc., New York.
Carl Andre: Sculpture 1959-78, Exhibition Catalogue, Whitechapel Art Gallery, 17 March – 23 April 1978, London.